Highlights

  • 1,610 notices of Proposition 65 lawsuits filed during the first half of 2020, including a peak of 348 notices filed in March at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • On April 1, new Proposition 65 warning requirements took effect

  • Hundreds of Proposition 65 lawsuits have targeted food products in recent years

  • Businesses must understand the requirements and their chemical risks

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Health Canada can boast of several regulatory achievements during the past 18 months, including the implementation of the Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA) regulations, new controls for salmonella in frozen raw breaded chicken products, and the long-awaited revision of the Canadian Food Guide. In recent months, Health Canada has introduced limits for heavy metals, launched food fraud activities, and rolled out new rules for cannabis edibles. Moving forward, Canadian authorities will implement the next phase of the SFCA regulations in January 2020, and continue efforts to improve public health through proper nutrition.

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Highlights:

  • Food labeling claims and food safety issues are responsible for the majority of lawsuits against food companies
  • ‘Natural’ labeling claims, foodborne illnesses, and chemical hazards have triggered several lawsuits this year
  • FDA is required to publish a highly anticipated and potentially controversial proposed rule to define high-risk foods
  • There is an upward trend in the annual number of 60-day notices associated with food products for Proposition 65
  • Lawsuits were filed this year to push the FDA to finalize specific FSMA regulations

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While I think everyone would agree that Russian roulette is a risky endeavor, not everyone would concede that zip lining, rock climbing or skydiving are risky activities. The ambiguity of “risk” can be extended to the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) regulations, particularly the designation of “high-risk” foods and the mitigation of the intentional adulteration of foods.

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An estimated 15 million food shipments are expected to arrive at 300 U.S. ports of entry this year from up to 125,000 foreign facilities located in over 200 countries. In recent years, an upward trend in the volume and diversity of imported food shipments has created regulatory and food safety challenges. Addressing these challenges, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) developed a new regulatory oversight strategy for ensuring the safety of imported foods.

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The evolving regulatory and consumer demands for “healthy” products with “clean labels” are challenging food and beverage manufacturers in North America. How can sugar, sodium and fat levels be reduced in products in order to meet public health goals, yet the products still retain a “crave-able” flavor and texture to satisfy consumer expectations?

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